Entries in Imports (3)


Will Currency Manipulation Bill Ignite Trade War with China?

ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- With the Senate poised to pass legislation Tuesday to coerce China to reevaluate its currency, speculation abounds as to whether the bill is an effective way to deal with China’s currency manipulation.

The bill does not specifically mention China, but it makes it easier for the Treasury Department to label a country’s currency misaligned, allowing it to impose tariffs on Chinese imports to make up for the deflated price.

It has bipartisan support in the Senate, but members of both parties are skeptical of the legislation in the House of Representatives as well as in the White House.

“For the Congress of the United States to pass legislation to force the Chinese to do what is arguably very difficult to do I think is wrong, it’s dangerous,” House Speaker John Boehner said. “You could start a trade war.”

And while President Obama said China has been “gaming the trading system to its advantage,” he cautioned that the Senate bill may violate international trade laws.

“My main whatever tools we put in place, let’s make sure that these are tools that can actually work, that they’re consistent with our international treaties and obligations,” Obama said.  “I don’t want a situation where we’re just passing laws that are symbolic, knowing that they’re probably not going to be upheld by the World Trade Organization.”

Supporters of the legislation claim that it will pressure China into raising the value of its currency, making American products more competitively priced with Chinese goods, which would increase demand for American exports. This increase in exports would lead to more jobs, particularly manufacturing, which have been disproportionately affected by the recession.

“We can’t force China’s central bank to immediately raise the value of their currency, but we could make the costs of not doing that so high that China has no choice,” said Scott Paul, the executive director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing.

Paul said that in order for America to pull out of the recession, it was “essential” for the United States to pressure China into allowing its currency, known as the yuan, to appreciate.

But opponents of the bill point out that trying to force China to reevaluate its currency could anger the Asian nation and inspire China to retaliate by imposing duties on U.S. imports or slowing the appreciation of its currency.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


China Imports $6 Billion a Year from Washington State

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(BEIJING) -- China's status as the United States' number one-importer has heavy hitters like California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg passing through Beijing jockeying for a piece of the China market, but there's one little welterweight that's making a big hit.

Call Washington State the little engine that could.

In the last decade, Washington State's exports to China increased over 300 percent. Last year, the state exported nearly $6 billion worth of products to China, second only to California.

Chinese consumers are going crazy for a Washington State candy called Almond Roca.

The buttercrunch toffee is an affordable treat in the United States. In China, it's marketed as a luxury item, showcased in upscale department stores and repackaged with Chinese characters. The Chinese character for Roca actually means "happy family."

Asians first got a taste of the candy during World War II, said Almond Roca Chief Executive Officer Pierson Clair. "We [United States] had a number of Navy bases in the Puget Sound and so captains and supply officers would throw on cases of Almond Roca to be on the ships for provisions, but they also used them for barter across Asia," Clair said.

The candy was formally introduced in Chinese department stores 22 years ago. It's an export that American workers can rest easy about; all of the candy is made in America, and sales in China have caused the factory of 300 workers to create another 25 jobs. "China is the star of our export business," Pierson said.

Washington State isn't stopping with the candy. There's a new opportunity in wine. The expansion of restaurants and supermarkets in China is providing a new opportunity for marketing wine from the state.

As more of China's elite make the move from the traditional white liquor called Baijiu, they're increasingly toasting to success with a nice, glass of Washington State wine mixed with a splash of Coca-Cola. They say the Coke makes it sweeter.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Obama in Japan: Asian Markets Critical to Economic Growth, Job Creation 

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(YOKAHAMA, Japan) -- On his last stop of his 10-day Asian tour, President Obama said that that America’s security and prosperity is “inextricably linked” to that of Asia and increasing U.S. exports will create American jobs.

“In today’s interconnected world, what happens in Japan or China or Indonesia also has a direct effect on the lives and fortunes of the American people,” he said at the APEC CEO summit in Yokahama, Japan.

The president said his goal of doubling U.S. exports in the next five years is directly related to job creation in America.

“With every $1 billion we sell in exports, five thousand jobs are supported at home,” he said. “And jobs supported by exports pay up to 18 percent higher than the national average.”

Yet the president failed to find support.  The president failed to convince the South Koreans to open their markets to American beef and cars - at stake $10 billion in exports and 70,000 American jobs. He failed to push Chinese President Hu Jintao to change policies that make it cheaper to manufacture in China by artificially building up the dollar and holding down Chinese currency.  And with a $227 billion dollar trade deficit with China, Mr Obama was unable to convince the other G20 leaders to agree to use stronger language on currency manipulation in the joint declaration or firm actions on trade imbalances.

Mr. Obama once again warned that nations with large trade surpluses cannot depend on exports to U.S. consumers, noting that the recent economic crisis taught a harsh lesson on the limits of that strategy.

“Going forward, countries with large surpluses must shift away from an unhealthy dependence on exports and take steps to boost domestic demand,” he said. “No nation should assume that their path to prosperity is simply paved with exports to America.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio